I've been playing Devil May Cry since it came out. If I may pop into my Bristolian accent for a moment, I'd just like to say that I bloody loves at. As such, this review of this slightly less impressive DLC package is probably going to refer to how much I bloody loves the main game, with particular reference to why Vergil's six-mission extension isn't quite as great.
Vergil's Downfall takes place after the climax of DmC, but because I'm going to try and use this review to make you buy the original game, I won't spoil anything. In a nutshell, Vergil is the petulant teenager that some people seemed to think Danté was.
(I've had arguments with people about this: I reckon DmC Danté is a far better character than any of the previous games. Some people seemed to think the "fuck you!" dialogue between Danté and Succubus was juvenile. I thought it was a brilliant failure of smartarse action movie dialogue, that resulted in Danté over-compensating by delivering not one, but three consecutive puns as she got minced by a propellor. Even Arnie never got to deliver three killing jokes to the same enemy.)
Anyway! After Danté's story, Vergil is a broken man. His amulet, and a vital organ are gone. His moves lost, his skills reset, his body cast into a version of limbo where every battle won plunges him deeper into insane, boiling resentment.
It's an economy-minded effort. There are plenty of reused assets - two levels occur in a reprised version of Vergil and Danté's childhood home, and no missions reach the stand-out design of the nightclub scenes in Devil's Dalliance, or the Bob Barbas boss fight. The cutscenes, meanwhile, use a cheaper (but stylistically effective) animation style to tell Vergil's tale.
Ninja Theory does a great job of making the abilities we saw Vergil use in the main game playable. There's just one main problem: the range of moves open to Vergil is paltry, compared to those open to Danté. As a Nephilim, he can channel heaven and hell through his sword - giving him faster, bluer crowd control attacks, and focussed red damage-dealing blows. Guns are replaced with a summoned crystal sword, which triples up as a simple weapon and a two-way teleportation device.
But the raw pleasure of DmC was in having to reconfigure your strategy to deal with new combinations of monsters. Having worked out that the Dreamrunners were knocked off guard by a charged Eryx attack, I felt suddenly proud of myself - until I had to fight three Dreamrunners, at which point I no longer had time to charge an attack, and had to attempt parrying. Turns out, I am not great at parrying.
Vergil has fewer tools in the box - one sword with three modes, and a single gun. And there are fewer tricks of timing you can employ, too. Fewer times a pause will cause your weapon to gleam, showing that a new attack is available. Vergil is a change of pace that would probably have been better woven through the main game, than sold as a new character. Although it's hard to resent Ninja Theory earning a little extra money, when DmC sold so frustratingly badly.
I've read numerous complaints from people who say that it's too easy to spam heavy attacks with Danté's axe and reach the SSS rank. For better or worse, Vergil doesn't have that particular problem. His style bonus builds slowly, and unless I'm missing out on some fairly basic strategies (this is an absolutely feasible explanation), SSS ranks are fiendishly difficult to reach, let alone maintain.
There are no secret keys and doors here. Collectibles are Lost Souls, as before, and fragments of health crosses are scattered across the levels. They're spread more thinly, and tougher to find, and given that DmC gives you an overall score multiplier based on level completion, that might be annoying for particularly stylish fighters who aren't interested in collectible hunting, and don't need the extra health.